Core E and CD Syllabus Example: SOC 359

Course Description

Latinxs are the largest community of color in the US today. Yet they are also disproportionately subject to surveillance, control, and punishment. This course will teach students how to critically analyze the basic theories, debates, and bodies of knowledge in Latinx sociology and criminology. This course reviews the history of Mexicans and Salvadorans in the Southwestern US, from the nineteenth century to the present, and the role of state institutions in marginalizing Latinxs to the fringes of society. Learn about the popular forms of resistance that pitted bandidos against vigilantes in the Wild West. Explore the Latinx struggle for civil rights from an intersectional perspective. Examine the systemic inequality that Latinxs experience in the US justice system, and the increasingly criminal treatment of migrants as civil law violators. Understand how US colonization of Central America has promulgated the spread of “gangs” domestically and internationally. Learn how students can promote social justice in Latinx communities. This course fulfills the requirement of the Chicanx/Latinx and Criminal Justice Studies minors.

Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment

This Course

By the end of this term, students will be able to:

  • Employ the Sociological Imagination to understand the experience of Latinxs/Chicanxs in the US criminal justice system (Reading posts, Class discussion, Exams)
  • Define and delineate major theoretical frameworks in Latinx Criminology (Reading posts, Class discussion, Exams)
  • Demonstrate effective professional, oral, and written communication (Critical Media Analysis, Keyword)
  • Critically analyze media to understand how its messages can reinforce dominant ideology (Critical Media Analysis)
  • Conduct original social research using genealogical methods to interrogate and expose dominant ideology (Keyword)


  • Critically analyze major social practices, structures, and inequalities (Weekly reading posts, Class discussion, Exams)
  • Discuss and differentiate major sociological theories, frameworks and traditions (Weekly reading posts, Class discussion, Exams)
  • Formulate, conduct, and communicate independent social research (Critical Media Essay, Keyword Entry)
  • Connect sociological analysis to practical social action (Critical Media Essay, Keyword Entry

Core E

  • Engage in the systematic and logical study of human beings and their interrelationships, with an appreciation of human diversity (Weekly reading posts, Class discussion, Exams)
  • Employ one or more social science methods or social science theories and philosophies (Weekly reading posts, Critical Media Essay, Exams)
  • Analyze explanations of human behavior, human relations, or human institutions (Weekly reading posts, Critical Media Essay, Exams)
  • Apply social science knowledge to contemporary social problems, including ways to improve the human condition and promote justice (Critical Media Essay, Keyword Entry, Keyword Presentation, Exams)
  • Understand and demonstrate social responsibility (Keyword Entry, Keyword Presentation)
  • Communicate social science knowledge to a world shared by all people and held in trust for future generations (Critical Media Essay, Keyword Entry, Keyword Presentation)

Cultural Diversity

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the factors that create diversity in human societies, including, for example, gender, race, class, and ethnicity (Critical Media Essay, Keyword Entry, Keyword Presentation, Exams)
  • Understand the relationships among diversity, inequality, and justice (Weekly reading posts, Class discussion, Critical Media Essay Keyword Entry, Keyword Presentation, Exams)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the effects of global interdependence on contemporary societies, for example, the role of migration and immigration, economic, political, and cultural globalization on contemporary societies (Weekly reading posts, Class discussion, Exams)
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the historical contributions of traditionally marginalized groups to contemporary ideas, values and culture (Critical Media Essay, Keyword Entry, Keyword Presentation, Exams)

Assignments and Grading

Assignment Points % Due Date
Attendance 30 6.67 Ongoing
Participation 50 7.78 Ongoing
Consultations (x2) 20 2.22 by 10/9 & 11/27
Midterm Exam 100 22.22 10/23
Critical Media Essay 75 16.67 9/11
Memo 25 5.56 8/30
Proposed Sources 25 5.56 9/25
Methods 25 5.56 10/4
Entry 25 5.56 11/13
Final Paper 75 16.67 12/11
Presentation 25 5.56 11/29 & 12/4
  450 100.0  



Students are required to attend each and every class period. Points will be deducted for missed classes, late arrivals, and early departures. If you must miss a class meeting, please discuss this in advance with the professor and submit all relevant assignments on time. More than four unexcused absences will result in a failing grade (“F”) for the course.


On-time attendance and participation in all class meetings is mandatory. You must “pull your weight” in our course by showing up to class, and constructively contributing to our learning environment. Throughout the semester you will work together in small groups. In-class participation grades will depend on the degree to which students contribute insightful and constructive comments during class discussion.

To facilitate everyone’s comprehension and thoughtful reflection on our readings/lessons, and to ensure that group discussions are informed and productive, you are expected to complete all assigned readings before class, and to submit a Reading Post that reports one (1) striking point, possible implication, or question from/ raised by at least one assigned reading, by the beginning of each class period. (See Sample Reading Post on Canvas for more details.) Each post must be 200-words or less and unique (i.e., you cannot post the same point, implication, or question as a student who has posted before you)—so, post early!

Individual Consultations

You are always welcome to attend office hours, but you are also required to meet with the professor at least twice during the semester. In the first consultation, you will collect graded assignments and discuss your goals for our course and college. In the second consultation, you will discuss progress toward your Final Paper, and plan how to proceed for the remainder of the semester.


Exams will cover material from both lecture and readings, and the final is comprehensive. Each exam will be composed of 5 multiple choice (1 point each) and 3 short essay questions (15 points each). I will evaluate your essay responses based on whether you answer each question completely, how well you define and apply course material, as well as your overall writing skills and adherence to the prescribed format.

Critical Media Essay

Write a 750-1000-word essay deconstructing popular representations of Latinx criminality. Examine the visual phenomena and explain its sociological significance. Then analyze these representations and assumptions with respect to negative perceptions of Latinxs in US society. (See “Critical Media Essay” handout on Canvas for more details.)


Conduct original research to analyze the sociohistorical significance of a “keyword” and draft a 2000-3000-word manuscript. Raymond Williams (1985) describes these as socially prominent words (ie, “gang member” or “citizen”) that have interlocking yet often contradictory and contested meanings in contemporary society. The goal of each project is to describe the historical origins and evolutions, multiple meanings, and other terms relating to their chosen keyword. (This assignment will be submitted in sections—Memo, Proposed Bibliography, Methods, Entry, Final Paper, and Presentation. See the Keywords handouts on Canvas for more details.)

Required Texts


Morín, J. L. (2012). Latino/a Rights and Justice in the United States: Perspectives and Approaches. Carolina Academic Press. (ISBN: 1594604061).
Urbina, M. (2015). Hispanics in U. S. Criminal Justice System: The New American Demography. Charles C Thomas Pub Ltd. (ISBN: 0398088160).
Zilberg, E. (2011). Spaces of Detention: The Making of a Transnational Gang Crisis between Los Angeles and San Salvador. Duke University Press. (ISBN: 082234730X).

Canvas Readings (C)

To access Canvas: Log in to your USFConnect. Once logged in, click on “Learning Technologies" on the dark green bar near the top of your screen. Then click on Instructure Canvas" on the next screen. After selecting our course, you can find all readings in the “Readings” folder of the “Files” section.

Online Media (O)

To access online media, you must click on the link in this syllabus or perform a Google search for the relevant article.


Date Unit Reading Learning Activity
8/21 Latinx Criminology B: Morín, Ch. 1: Introduction: Toward an Understanding of Latino/as in the United States and the U.S. Justice System  
8/23   C: Mirandé, Ch. 1: A Legacy of Conflict  
8/28 Encountering Gringos B: Morín, Ch. 2: The Origins of Latino/a Presence in the United States: An Encounter with the History of U.S.-Latin American Relations (pp. 19-34)

C: Mirandé, Ch. 3: Vigilantes, Bandits, and Revolutionaries (p. 50-74)
8/30   C: Mirandé, Ch. 3: Vigilantes, Bandits, and Revolutionaries (p. 74-99) Memo Due
9/4   B: Morín, Ch. 2: The Origins of Latino/a Presence in the United States: An Encounter with the History of U.S.-Latin American Relations (pp. 34-48)

O: The Infamous US Military School Still Draws Fire (read all linked stories as well)
9/6   B: Zilberg, Ch. 6: Soldier Cop: Remilitarized Space  
9/11     Library Day Essay Due
9/13     Film: "Voices Inocentes"
9/18 Latinx Racialization C: Romero, From El Bandido to Gang Member  
9/20   B: Zilberg, Ch. 1: Latino Looter: Law of Place  
9/25   B: Zilberg, Ch. 4: Criminal Deportee: Transnational Space Proposed Sources Due
9/27     Film: "Sin Nombre"
10/2   O: Calderon-Doughlass, The Folk Feminist Struggle Behind the Chola Fashion Trend  
10/4   C: Bender, Ch. 5: Mañana (is soon enough for me): fertility and welfare Methods Due
10/9 Gringo Justice B: Morín, Ch. 4: Latino/as and the US Justice System Consultation 1
10/11 C: Romero, Racial Profiling and Immigration Law Enforcement  
10/16     No Class/Fall Break
10/18     Catch-up/Review
10/23     Midterm Exam
10/25     TBA
10/30   B: Zilberg, Ch. 3: Criminal Cop: Spatial Justice  
11/1   C: Urbina, Indigent Defenses  
11/6     TBA
11/8   C: Mirande, Latinos & the 4th Amendment  
11/13   C: Ruddell & Ortiz, Critical Issues Facing Hispanic Prisoners Entry Due
11/15     No Class / ASC / Presentation Prep
11/20     No Class / ASC / Presentation Prep
11/22     No Class / Thanksgiving
11/27   C: Shah, Lost in the gender maze: Placement of transgender inmates in the prison system Consultation 2
11/29     Presentation Due
12/4     Presentation Due
12/6     No Class / Study / Review Day
12/11     Final Paper Due (2:30 PM)

Classroom Policies

Electronic Devices

Laptops and cellphones may not be used during lecture unless students have a documented disability or are otherwise instructed. Students who violate this policy may be asked to leave the classroom.

Late or Missed Assignments

If students are absent from class, they cannot make up participation points. If they are absent from an exam, it is their responsibility to schedule a make-up with the instructor in a timely manner. Other assignments will be subject to a 10% deduction for every day they are late.

Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability or disabling condition, or if you think you may have a disability, please contact USF Student Disability Services (SDS) at (415) 422-2613 within the first week of class, or immediately upon onset of disability, to speak with a disability specialist. If you are determined eligible for reasonable accommodations, please meet with your disability specialist so they can arrange to have your accommodation letter sent to me, and we will discuss your needs for this course. For more information, visit the SDS website

Behavioral Expectations

All students are expected to behave in accordance with the Student Conduct Code. Students whose behavior is disruptive or who fail to comply with the instructor may be dismissed from the class for the remainder of the class period and may need to meet with the instructor or Dean prior to returning to the next class period. If necessary, referrals may also be made to the Student Conduct process for violations of the Student Conduct Code.

Academic Integrity

As a Jesuit institution committed to cura personalis -- the care and education of the whole person -- USF has an obligation to embody and foster the values of honesty and integrity. USF upholds the standards of honesty and integrity from all members of the academic community. All students are expected to know and adhere to the University's Honor Code. You can find the full text of the code online.

The policy covers:

  • Plagiarism — intentionally or unintentionally representing the words or ideas of another person as your own; failure to properly cite references; manufacturing references.
  • Working with another person when independent work is required.
  • Submission of the same paper in more than one course without the specific permission of each instructor.
  • Submitting a paper written by another person or obtained from the Internet.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

CAPS’ diverse staff offers brief individual, couple, and group counseling to student members of our community. CAPS services are confidential and free of charge. Call (415) 422-6352 for an initial consultation appointment. Telephone consultation through CAPS After Hours is available Monday - Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., 24 hours during weekends and holidays; call the above number and press 2. Further information can be found on the CAPS website

Confidentiality, Mandatory Reporting, and Sexual Assault

As instructors, one of our responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment on our campus. We also have a mandatory reporting responsibility related to our role as faculty. We are required to share information regarding sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have occurred on USF’s campus with the University. Here are some useful resources related to sexual misconduct:

  • To report any sexual misconduct, students may visit the Title IX coordinator (UC 5th floor) or find other options on the USF student life page.
  • Students may speak to someone confidentially or report a sexual assault confidentially by contacting Counseling and Psychological Services at (415) 422-6352.
  • For an off-campus resource, contact San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) (415) 647-7273.